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New page layout considerations - Post Panda

   
8:08 pm on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I was under the impression that now, post-Panda, that best practices included keeping a substantial amount of text content above the fold, as opposed to showing ads (obviously) or even a relatively large graphic (whose intent Google can't interpret and therefore does not value).

Any chance this text-is-king attitude doesn't apply embedded videos?

I'd like to show off the fact that my pages feature a video, yet after placing a skyscraper ad (to pay the bills) and the video, I don't have all that much space left for text. (The video is already shown at as small a size as I think is suitable.)

I'd love to learn that Google values video, but right now I anticipate that it too is simply considered "non-valued" space and therefore I should move the video to a place lower on the page?
8:25 pm on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Considering that few (if any websites) have fully recovered from Panda and the lack of research on Panda I would be careful when making changes. Many people have posted speculation and their guesses about Panda. There is little proven information to act upon.

Also "above the fold" is very arbitrary since desktop users have many different monitor sizes with countless combinations of toolbars that eat into screen real estate. To make it even more confusing mobile usage is quickly becoming a significant minority with totally different screen issues.
8:51 pm on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Easy: design for users!
11:32 pm on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)



I'm going to go out on a limb here with pure speculation - I've seen many sites rating very well in the current SERPS with slide shows above the fold. I am working on the assumption that this type of content is fine. This type of content would not be adsence of any type of advertisements. This type of content also keeps people on the page for a longer period of time.

On the other hand I am not putting all my eggs in one basket. I'll be OK if Google says no to these pages.
11:50 pm on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've seen many sites rating very well in the current SERPS with slide shows above the fold.


I've seen a slight increase with my pages after adding a slide show. Still, I would not base changes on that since it could have been that I placed my other content better, ibl, or simply luck.

But weird you mention it.
12:18 am on Jun 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I would just do what feels right and ignore any potential/speculated Panda effect. Look at the typical space available on the page for the most common screen reses and fill it with the right information/visuals/links to keep people on your site. If that means a video then so be it.
1:19 am on Jun 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



We have little to no actual info regarding Panda, only that it DOES exist. As for video being acceptable I'd think that Google would prefer their youtube to be the undisputed king of video... Not saying you can't rank for self=served video, especially if it is compelling and unique.
2:44 am on Jun 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



...best practices included keeping a substantial amount of text content above the fold, as opposed to showing ads (obviously) or even a relatively large graphic (whose intent Google can't interpret and therefore does not value).

I'm curious whether anyone has in fact seen a large image above the fold producing Panda-like drops when that image is not an ad.

I ask in part because I'm in process on a site redesign that would insert a large graphic... one that's "compelling", to use tangor's word... which would split up existing home page text. "Compelling" is the reason we're considering adding it.

Several sites I've been involved with in the past have used large home page graphics, along with well-written text, meant to be read, below the graphic, and I'm seeing no ranking changes. I just checked one in particular that has essentially 900 px (vertically) of image and white space filling the screen before any optimized content shows up. It's an image very much integral to the site... not an ad... and I haven't seen any noticeable shifts in ranking over this Panda period.

That said, I understand Broadway's hesitation.
3:18 am on Jun 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I'm curious whether anyone has in fact seen a large image above the fold producing Panda-like drops when that image is not an ad.


You don't say what you mean by "large" but here's my experience. [For reference, I'm talking above the fold on a 1280x800 screen]

1,500 pages with a 400x250-300 pixel image above the fold in the center column. 300x250 adblock below the image. Any additional images below that adblock.

H1 (3 - 4 kws) and text content in the left column with a small adlinks unit after the first paragraph.

Right column contains additional on site nav links.

Pre-Panda 1, most pages on page 1.

Post Panda II, most pages dropped to 50 - 250+ for searches like kw kw for fairly common widgets.

Even very relevant queries ([kw kw] pictures) for pretty obscure widget images find these pages in 15+ at best for the most part.

[Just as an aside, for one of the most obscure of these widgets, when I first posted my images on line 10 years ago, the unquoted (kw kw picture) search for it returned 3 results, today it returns 481,000. All that time before Panda I my page for that widget was # 1 - 3. today it is #15. That's about as good as it gets for me now.]
4:25 am on Jun 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I'm curious whether anyone has in fact seen a large image above the fold producing Panda-like drops when that image is not an ad.

I've recently seen a large linked image that is not exactly an ad - it's a call to action within the site, and it pushes all the text content below the fold. This is the standard layout for every page.

The site seemed to slide through the earlier Pandas pretty nicely. It just got nailed 36 hours ago - but it's not yet clear whether this current update is truly Panda or just some big change to the rest of the algo.

it's a kind of design strategy I think of as the Fisher-Price school. In some markets, it gets insanely high conversion rates. But a high percentage of very low traffic would still be a problem for anyone.
7:46 am on Jun 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



ken_b and tedster - Thanks.

The image we're considering in the site redesign is smaller than I remembered... c500w x 225h... with text showing both above and below the image (with browser only partially filling a 1280x1020 screen). I'd call it an 'atmospheric design element'. No ads on the site.

On the other site I mentioned, with the image occupying 900px vertically, the image is very definitely "a call to action within the site," but it is not linked and it's on the home page only. There's a registration form in the white space to the right of it, with all text below the fold, and so far at least the image... or at least the big area without text... doesn't seem to have affected rankings.

I'd like to think that Google can tell the difference between an image or video player vs an ad. Considerations of whether the image is linked and whether the link is internal are both intriguing to think about.

Along these same lines, how might Google react to large iframe areas in a page layout?
8:18 am on Jun 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



There is no right answer for Panda layout. Sure, visitors probably don't want ads, and want to get right to the information they are seeking, but if we don't have ads to fund the copywriters providing this information, then you get what you pay for.

So designing for users goes 2 ways. 1. you want them to click on your ads to generate revenue, to invest in the quality of the site, to provide better content for your users. and 2. the users want the easiest navigational content you can offer.
3:39 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@Robert

I'm also working on a site redesign now post-Panda for a better user experience.

My one site that recovered from Panda 2.2 (without any changes) has a picture on the home page which is about 950 pixels high. The site is about #3 in rankings (behind wikipedia and another popular site). The picture is relevant, high resolution, and perfect. It's at the top of the page, but there's a lot of text underneath it.

I'm not saying anyone should use tall images to recover from Panda, but I have another site which didn't get Pandalized that also has images at the top of pages which are over 500 pixels high, once again with a decent amount of text below them.

Big pictures don't have to degrade the user experience and mine don't. They improve it. The Panda problems I've found for some of my sites are when there's a big pic and little if any text, but the problems would probably still exist if there were small pics and little text, too.
3:59 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



My litmus test, such as it is, is whether the users will still love the site after I add whatever element.

That actually led me to *remove* a few things this year.
6:23 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)



@Broadway:

Since embedded videos are the type of content I work with a lot, I am pretty sure that Google treats it as useful content. However, since I'm suffering the effects of Panda still on many of my sites, I can't claim to know for sure. But of the sites that have survived Panda or made a partial recovery from it, all have embedded videos as the main content along with a text description.